Introducing Nancy, Television Columnist


Malcom in the Middle street, 600 x 400
We celebrated Presidents’ Day, 2015, by adding Nancy Heather Brown to our masthead here at Escape Into Life. Retired from a career in public television in Iowa, she will grace us with a column called “Life in the Box,” bringing together her memories, expertise, opinions, and ongoing interest in television. She introduces herself beautifully below. Be sure to click the link to her first column, as well.

Nancy in the Middle

by Nancy Heather Brown

When people ask me how I got started in broadcasting, I always say that I love music, dance, visuals, theater, radio, writing, and storytelling—and that television was a way I could touch all of that at once. I was never a newshound, but I was always a creative dreamer.

As there are many kinds of artists, so are there many kinds of television producers. My perspectives on the creative process stem from more than three decades of professional experience that only a handful of television producers can claim. Since my experiences are unique, I would like to spend a minute describing them.

In some ways, I come from the middle. Location: Middle West; television market size: middle; age: middle. Not high end production like Hollywood; not low end production like interviews in front of black curtains.

In fact, I’ve been fortunate enough to create beautiful documentaries, a humanities-oriented magazine series, travel shows, a current events discussion series, and short-short stories called fillers and promotions—little tales in their own right.

Nothing I’ve produced has been entirely on my own. I am not a videographer, for example. I have also had the good fortune of being supported by television engineers who made sure the final product was not only polished, but also stood up to the scopes and dials. Plus our station provided us with studio crews, set designers, and on-air talent with great style.

Unlike some producers, however, I had the great freedom of choosing stories that called to my heart, going to locations of my choice and learning first-hand about fascinating people, and internalizing all that, writing, editing, and illustrating my stories with feeling and spirit.

That’s an art. And like all art, it’s a business that balances in a wobbly way between dreams and physical constrictions. It’s sometimes about choice; sometimes about necessity; most times about service to others; always something a little different. Stay tuned!

author-picture2smallerNancy Heather Brown has had the unique experience of producing, writing, and editing non-fiction television as part of a broadcasting career that spans four decades. Today, she uses gems from this treasure trove of life stories to add sparkle to her reflections on the creative process. She’s harvested these jewels in the Midwest, namely Iowa and Illinois. A little slide show of her career, prepared for a reunion with Illinois State University television students, is available on YouTube, and some videos from her favorite series, “Living in Iowa,” are posted online at Iowa Public Television.

Nancy Heather Brown at EIL

Nancy Heather Brown at YouTube

Nancy Heather Brown at Iowa Public Television, “Living in Iowa”

Nancy Heather Brown at Iowa Public Television, including Dewey Readmore Books

Malcolm in the Middle Street View thanks to Wikimedia Commons